A full conversion to the gospel is the only sure way to have spiritual safety now and happiness forever, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy said during the Saturday morning session of general conference.
"I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," Elder Hallstrom said. "Sometimes we use the terms 'gospel' and 'Church' interchangeably, but they are not the same. They are, however, exquisitely interconnected and we need both."
Elder Hallstrom taught that the Church was established by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, He then spoke of the Church today with its more than 18,000 meetinghouses, 136 temples (with 30 more under construction or announced), more than 56,000 full-time missionaries serving in 150 countries, along with humanitarian work and a welfare system that span the globe to many communities throughout the world,
"This is a magnificent Church," he said. "Its organization, effectiveness and sheer goodness are respected by all who sincerely seek to understand it. ... There is nothing like this Church in all the world."
But the gospel is even more than the organization of the Church, said Elder Hallstrom.
"Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal," he observed. "Therein lies a danger. It is possible to be active in the Church and less-active in the gospel. Let me stress — activity in the Church is a highly-desirable goal; however, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed.
"By contrast, the things of the gospel are usually less visible and more difficult to measure, but, they are of greater eternal importance. ...
"I repeat — we need the gospel and the Church. In fact the purpose of the Church is to help us live the gospel."
Elder Hallstrom shared three fundamental ways to have the gospel be "the foundation of our life."
1. Deepen our understanding of Deity.
"A sustained knowledge of and love for the three members of the Godhead are indispensable," he said. "Mindfully pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, and seek direction from the Holy Ghost. Coupled with constant study and humble pondering, continually build unshakable faith in Jesus Christ."
2. Focus on the ordinances and covenants.
"If there are any of the essential ordinances yet to be performed in your life, intently prepare to receive each of them," he said. "Then, we need to establish the discipline to live faithful to our covenants, fully using the weekly gift of the sacrament. Many of us are not being regularly changed by its cleansing power because of our lack of reverence for this holy ordinance."
3. Unite the gospel with the Church.
"Concentrating on the gospel, the Church will become more, not less, of a blessing in our lives. As we come to each meeting prepared to 'seek learning, even by study and also by faith,' the Holy Spirit will be our teacher. If we come to be entertained, we often will be disappointed. ..."
"The Lord wants the members of His Church to be fully converted to His gospel," Elder Hallstrom said. "This is the only sure way to have spiritual safety now and happiness forever."